Smart Car 101: The True Costs of a Smart Car

Tesla Smart ForTwo Mercedes

Smart cars are fun to drive, but is it really worth buying? Does a Smart car offer great value for money, considering they aren’t exactly what you’d call cheap? How much will it cost to own a Smart car for, say, five years? How about fuel economy? What about insurance costs?

If you’re interested in a Smart car, we answer these and more questions in today’s article. We highlight the true costs of owning one of these adorable little beasts. If you’re in the market for a car, we hope our article helps you to make a smart decision.

Without further ado, let’s start.

How Much Does a Smart Car Cost?

Smart cars are small in size, which might mislead you into thinking they come cheap. On the contrary, Smart cars are expensive. In Europe, for instance, a brand new Smart Fortwo car costs between $15,000 and $33,000, according to BBC’s Top Gear

That’s quite a lump sum by all standards. For such a large amount of money, you can buy other quality vehicles such as the 2020 Hyundai Venue, 2020 Chevrolet Spark and 2020 Subaru Impreza, just to mention a few.

Sadly, Smart cars are no longer sold in the US. However, you can find yourself a used Smart car that costs between $7,000 and $13,000. Still, that’s a steep price for a used car, considering there are many other used cars that cost way less, and offer comparable specs. 

So, is a Smart car worth it based on the base price only? That totally depends on you. If you’re city dweller, a Smart car is not a far-fetched option. It’s incredibly easy to maneuver into the tiniest of parking spaces, and can help you save on fuel, especially if you use it a lot around town.

For rural dwellers, you’re better off with a large SUV that’s easier to drive on tougher roads. Plus, rural drivers have strikingly different needs to urban drivers. If you’re carrying large loads, for instance, it doesn’t make sense to go for a Smart car.

How Much Does a Smart Car Cost to Maintain?

Unknown to many first-time drivers, maintaining any car is costly. But is a Smart car any different? In other words, is it cheaper to maintain a Smart car? 

Well, according to Edmunds, it will cost you about $5,640 to maintain a Smart Fortwo car over the course of five years if you drive only 15,000 miles per year. It’s just an estimate, but you get the picture.

On average, it costs about $1,400 per year to maintain a Smart car for ordinary service. For the best servicing, we recommend working with an authorized Mercedes dealer. Keep in mind that a Smart car, just like any other type of car, degenerates rapidly without regular servicing.

When you visit your dealer, ensure they check things such as power steering fluid, clutch fluid (if you have manual transmission), radiator fluid, wheel alignment, tires, cabin air filters, engine air filter, shocks and so on.

Keep in mind the cost of Smart car maintenance depends on your location and the longevity of your components. Without regular checks, your Smart car will drive you up the wall, just like any other type of vehicle.

How Must Does a Smart Car Cost to Insure?

By all means, you cannot afford to underinsure or drive around without insurance. It will get you in trouble and cost you an arm and leg if you’re involved in an accident. All the same, you’ll be joyous to learn that Smart cars are relatively cheap to insure.

That’s right, Smart car insurance costs less than $1,000 per year. Some auto insurance companies charge you as low as $680/year to insure a 2017 Smart Fortwo, which is way less than the industry average. Other insurance companies will charge you as low as $408/year to insure the 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive model

No matter how you look at it, insuring a Smart car is quite affordable, which is great news for would-be Smart car owners. All the same, keep in mind that your premiums could escalate due to factors such as your driving history, location, age and profession, among others. Consult with helpful experts like for more tips on insurance savings.

In terms of insurance, a Smart car is a great choice if you’re looking to save money on your auto insurance.

How Much Does a Smart Car Cost to Fuel?

Fuel consumption is another factor to consider when calculating the cost of driving and owning a Smart car in the long run. If you drive your Smart car 15,000 miles per year, it will cost you about $550 on average. 

That comes down to about $45 per month. But that is only if you drive 15,000 miles per year. If you drive less than 15k miles, your fuel costs come plummeting down. City dwellers who run short errands spend about $20 per month on fuel.

If you choose the electric version, you’ll save about $3,250 in fuel costs over five years compared to the average new vehicle. That is if you drive 15,000 miles per year. Not bad, considering the electric version doesn’t pollute the air. What a way to go. 

Smart cars are fuel economical vehicles that allow you to get around town without breaking the bank. It’s a great choice if you’d like to spend less on fuel.

So, is a Smart car worth buying?

Well, yes and no. It all boils down to your taste and preference. They are certainly expensive to buy, but incredibly cheap to insure. On top of that, Smart cars are relatively cheap to maintain and fuel. 

If you have a powerful SUV for longer journeys and adventures across the wild, a Smart car would make a nice addition for grocery shopping, and short errands around town. It’s perfect for city life and a great gift for your driving-age children.

What do you think? Do you own a Smart car? What are the true costs of owning one? 

Alicia Baker
Alicia is a Canadian writer whose enthusiasm for cultural and automotive are combined in her writing. Her background includes links to insurance, finance, and automotive safety.